ENNIS, Texas (October 18, 2015) – Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, earned his third win in four races earlier today in Texas claiming a coveted Texas Motorplex Cowboy Hat.
Worsham began the weekend strong throughout qualifying gaining nine bonus points. However, he saved the best for the evening session. Running right beside his closest competitor in the standings, Jack Beckman, Worsham ran a 3.917 second pass, just besting Beckman’s 3.919.
That run ending up holding for the top spot in qualifying giving Worsham his first number one qualifier of the season and first since Norwalk last season. Texas native John Hale was his first opponent.
Hale smoked the tires early and Worsham ran another solid 3.925 second pass to advance pass the first round. Unfortunately, next up was Worsham’s teammate, Alexis DeJoria. They left together and were still side-by-side to half-track before Worsham was able to get the advantage.
Worsham moved back to semi-finals, but this time without lane choice against a championship contender, Ron Capps. Capps and Worsham also left together but Worsham steadily pulled away to win a close race.
On the opposite side of the ladder Beckman was defeating his opponents as well setting up a final round pairing with the top two drivers in the point standings. Worsham earned lane choice with a slight advantage on Beckman. He was cruising along and then the DHL Toyota Camry made a dive towards the center lane. Worsham was able to regroup and guide the Camry across the finish line for the win.
“I think we may have stolen this one today,” said Worsham. “It was definitely a challenge because we didn’t have the fastest car all day, so in between rounds the whole DHL Toyota team had to go back to work. The final was crazy. we got a good start and we were cruising along and all of a sudden the car just made a hard right hand turn. I let off and we hit the finish line and I didn’t know if we won or not until I heard it on the radio. Now we’ve got a week off and we aren’t looking at the championship, we’re just going to prepare for Las Vegas and that’s the only thing that matters.”
Worsham leaves Texas with a 38-point lead in the standings with just two races remaining.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, had a great qualifying effort after struggling in the first half of the Countdown chase. DeJoria made it down the track cleanly in three out of four sessions and set her name in Texas Motorplex history. Her qualifying effort, a 3.969 second pass, was the first three second run in Funny Car history at the track. That run earned her a date with Tim Wilkerson in the first round.
The last nitro pair to see the track DeJoria was focused and ready. She cut the best reaction time of any Funny Car driver this season, .005, to gain a one tenth advantage on Wilkerson before the run even began. Wilkerson failed to make a solid pass, but DeJoria did as her four second run advanced her to face her teammate in the quarterfinals.
Worsham and DeJoria left together in the all-Team Kalitta pairing, but DeJoria had trouble down track as she explains below.
“Well, I definitely believe in destiny because it happened in that run against my teammate,” said DeJoria. “Yes, he is number one in points and it was a big round for him, but there was no way I was going to give it up. I respect them and they respect me and that is how we race here at Kalitta Motorsports. I started the car up, turned my air on and flipped my visor down and one of my air freshener lines was shooting me right in my left eye. I tried to block it out in my mind. I did my burnout, backed up and flipped my visor up. I tried to push it back, but it just wouldn’t work. I had to accept it and move on. It was bugging me so bad. How do you go from a .005 light to a .135 light second round? That was not intentional. I got down there at half track and it is moving around on me and the air was still spraying me in the eye and I couldn’t keep it in the groove. It was the end of our day, but I have to give it up to that DHL Toyota team. They are on a rail and are doing great.”
DeJoria advanced two positions to seventh in the standings with two races remaining.
J.R. Todd, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster, struggled in the Texas heat in qualifying. After earning a solid 3.785 in the Friday night session to guarantee his spot in the field, Todd’s Red Line Oil entry was unable to make a clean run on Saturday, smoking the tires early in both opportunities.
However, with the talent in the Team Kalitta pits, the Red Line Oil team was ready for more on raceday. Another matchup with points leader Antron Brown awaited. Todd has faced Brown at some point during the racing action in four of the last six events.
Todd and Brown were the second pair on the Texas Motorplex surface. The Red Line Oil team laid down a solid number, their best of the weekend, but Brown had tuned up for the Kalitta entry and was able to earn the round win.
“I really wanted to end Red Line Oil’s run with another win this weekend, but it was not meant to be,” said Todd. “We have two events left and my team plans on building momentum and learning how we can improve for the future.”
Todd is ninth in the standings, but less than one solid event from a return to the top five.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching For A Cure Top Fuel dragster, was testing on Friday. Unforuntately, neither combination hit and Kalitta’s pink Mac Tools ride went into Saturday not yet in. Jim Oberhofer and the entire crew went back to what they knew and had two solid runs to earn Kalitta the 11th qualifying position.
Kalitta drew Australian Richie Crampton in the first round. Crampton is a fellow Countdown contender.
Crampton chose to be the first pair down the track, and Kalitta was ready. He beat Crampton on the tree, however, Crampton got the best of the Mac Tools ride at the finish line, resetting the track record.
“It was just not our day,” said Kalitta. “We really wanted to run well in front of Brett (Shaw, President of Mac Tools). We are going to test tomorrow and hopefully learn some things that can improve this Mac Tools machine for the future.”
Kalitta will leave Texas in the tenth position in the standings.
After 22 races, Team Kalitta nitro race cars have won five events, advanced to 12 final rounds and earned four no.1 qualifying positions. Just two races remain in the NHRA Mello Yello Series Season. The series takes next week off before heading to our second stop
Del Worsham – Driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 1 Qualifier (3.917 sec., 323.58 mph)
E1: Worsham defeated Hale – 3.925 sec., 324.67 mph to 6.812 sec., 95.90 mph
E2: Worsham defeated DeJoria – 3.970 sec., 321.65 mph to 4.737 sec., 169.02 mph
E3: Worsham defeated Capps – 3.975 sec., 320.66 mph to 3.999 sec., 319.29 mph
Final: Worsham defeated Beckman – 4.041 sec., 272.17 mph to 4.077 sec., 286.25 mph
Alexis DeJoria – Driver of the Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car:
No. 9 Qualifier (3.969 sec., 318.09 mph)
E1: DeJoria defeated Wilkerson – 4.007 sec., 320.20 mph to 4.751 sec., 167.70 mph
E2: DeJoria defeated Worsham – 4.737 sec., 169.02 mph to 3.970 sec., 321.65 mph
J.R. Todd – Driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 10 Qualifier (3.785 sec., 317.64 mph)
E1: Todd defeated by Brown – 3.777 sec., 326.56 mph to 3.716 sec., 324.51 mph
Doug Kalitta – Driver of the Mac Tools Wrenching for a Cure Top Fuel Dragster:
No. 11 Qualifier (3.796 sec., 321.12 mph)
E1: Kalitta defeated by Crampton – 3.761 sec., 326.56 mph to 3.705 sec., 328.94 mph
Mello Yello Championship Points:
Top Fuel (Unofficial)
1. Antron Brown (2545)
2. Tony Schumacher (2373)
3. Richie Crampton (2302)
4. Brittany Force (2298)
5. Larry Dixon (2268)
6. Steve Torrence (2254)
7. Shawn Langdon (2236)
8. Dave Connolly (2219)
9. J.R. Todd (2213)
10. Doug Kalitta (2205)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Del Worsham (2488)
2. Jack Beckman (2450)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2341)
4. Ron Capps (2330)
5. Matt Hagan (2329)
6. John Force (2264)
7. Alexis DeJoria (2206)
8. Cruz Pedregon (2201)
9. Robert Hight (2196)
10. Tim Wilkerson (2195)
Konnekt with Kalitta Motorsports:
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit #KalittaStrong online –
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car. J.R. Todd drives the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Tequila Patrón XO Café Incendio Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Optima Batteries, Patrón XO Café Incendio, Phoenix Fuel Converter, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, TMS Titanium, Toyota and Ziebart.